Erie Co. break-in, burglary reports decrease, but drug incidents on the rise

Cary Ashby • Feb 13, 2018 at 3:00 PM

SANDUSKY — While reports of break-ins and burglaries decreased sharply last year in Erie County, the area saw an increase in the number of drug-related crimes.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office received 18 breaking-and-entering reports in 2017, compared to 43 the previous year. That’s a 58-percent decrease and the year-end report indicates similar numbers for burglaries. Last year, deputies had 41 burglary reports, which is down from 67 in 2016 — a 39-percent drop.

“We are very pleased to see that,” Sheriff Paul Sigsworth said. “We try to be proactive and be visible. We try to maintain some kind of visibility in the rural parts of the county.”

The sheriff credits the relationship with township trustees and Margaretta Local Schools with helping deputies investigate burglaries and break-ins since there are substations throughout the county. That means officers can report directly there at the beginning of their shifts instead of at the main station in Sandusky.

“That cuts down dramatically on the response team in the rural parts of the county,” Sigsworth said.

Meanwhile, deputies received 164 reports of drug offenses last year, which represents a 41-percent increase from 2016 to 2017, according to the annual report. These reports could include arrests, warnings or a complainant reporting a suspicion of drug- and/or narcotics-related activity.

Sigsworth said deputies “are very active” and make arrests during traffic stops, which often lead to drug charges.

But there often is a connection between drug offenses and burglaries or break-ins. 

“Generally, it’s drug-fueled,” Sigsworth said.

That means a suspect often might be breaking into a residence or business to steal something which can be sold for drug money.

“With those types of crime that’s often the motive,” Sigsworth said.

Also, the sheriff said it’s often determined that “one person ends up being responsible” for multiple break-ins or burglaries as part of a crime spree, so making one arrest will clear several cases at once. 

The amount of sex-related crimes reported in Erie County were the same in 2016 and 2017 at 32.

In 2017, there were 148 citations for driving under the influence. That’s a 13-percent increase from 2016, when 131 DUI reports were made.

“One is too many,” Sigsworth told the Reflector. “We do as much as we can.” 

Unfortunately, the sheriff said there a lot of “hardcore, habitual” repeat offenders who, if they aren’t in jail, will end up driving even if their license has been suspended from a previous DUI conviction.

“Those individuals endanger everybody and need to be removed from the roadway,” he added.

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